47: A long list.

- October 22, 2017 -

I used to think that it was considered rather impressive for me to do everything by myself.

Somehow, I thought that if I had been the one to do it all, whatever it was that I had done would be considered an even greater achievement than if I had been helped along the way. Maybe I liked the independence, the feeling that I could do it all and therefore didn’t technically need anybody else to help me do it. Maybe, though, I just liked the sense of power that came from thinking that it had been me and no one else who had gotten things done.

These days, I no longer feel that way. And it’s not just because I no longer believe that it’s possible for one person to have done everything themselves, although I most certainly don’t think it is. It’s also because, even if it were somehow possible for that to be the case, I simply no longer have any desire to structure my life in such a way as would limit me to the kind of solitary existence where it would be my name beside every role in the credits.

I don’t want to finish a project or reach a milestone and have nobody to thank but myself. I don’t want to get to the top of the mountain, look around, and realize that it’s just me by myself up there, taking a selfie with The Void because there’s nobody else around.

I want to structure my life in such a way as to have a long list of acknowledgments for every achievement, regardless of how big or small it is. I want to get to the top of every mountain and find myself surrounded by a large group of people, each of whom has in some way contributed to — and can share in — the accomplishment, each of whom I couldn’t have gotten to that peak without.

More than that, though, I want to structure my life in such a way as to constantly be adding to that list, to constantly have more people to thank and more experiences to be grateful for. I want to have more people to lean on, not less, and I want to become more deliberate about being one of those people for others.

I want us all to climb more mountains, and I want us to be less hesitant about climbing them together. Because, as I’m increasingly coming to realize, it’s often the most seemingly insignificant contributions that are the most integral in bringing about success.


Waving from my desk,
– J


This piece comes from Jana Marie’s newsletter, The Sunday Letters. You can sign up to receive future editions below.